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United front is vital: Gerrard

Steven Gerrard believes it is crucial the England squad are united this summer to have any chance of World Cup glory.

Gerrard stressed the need to retain "togetherness and team spirit" in the wake of recent allegations concerning the likes of axed skipper John Terry and left back Ashley Cole.

Fabio Capello spelt out the importance of players behaving in the right manner on and off the pitch ahead of tonight's friendly international with Egypt at Wembley, suggesting the wealth of modern footballers brought with it problems.

"Players have to be an example to the children," said Capello. "For that reason, they have to stay careful at all times and sacrifice something in their lives.

"They are young players, young boys, who are rich boys. This is the problem."

And Gerrard knows an 'all for one, one for all' mentality will be vital with the finals in South Africa only three months away. He said: "I think it is important for everyone to get on to be successful. We know there are a lot of opinions about this squad from the outside.

But the most important thing is from the inside we are all one, we are all together and united. For us to be successful in the summer, we need to all stick together.

"During the last couple of days, the team spirit and togetherness have not been affected. Everyone is united."

Gerrard accepts the need to adhere to Capello's wishes and the need to focus on the future. He said: "Of course, you can't ignore the headlines because they are on the back pages and front pages, every TV channel, but we've got to forget about it and put it all behind us. We've got a massive tournament, the biggest tournament you can play in as a player, coming up.


"It's important the players don't lose any focus. They should forget about stuff that is being written about players' private lives and focus on the football."

Gerrard admitted: "We totally understand the importance of setting standards. We understand the responsibilities. We are role models to kids. The manager addressed the situation as soon as he saw us on the training pitch. The message was short and sweet. He told us to focus on football. He reiterated we've got responsibilities as players on and off the pitch."

The form of Wayne Rooney is giving England cause for optimism ahead of the World Cup and Gerrard believes he will cause problems whether playing as the main spearhead or as the second striker.

He said: "I don't think it matters whether Rooney plays as the centre- forward or just behind. When he is in this kind of form, he is unstoppable. We just hope he can maintain his form and fitness right through to the end of the World Cup."



(KO 8.0)